Dual Diagnosis Treatment Denver Residents Can Rely On

Looking for dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on? Discover comprehensive and integrated care at Mile High Recovery Center.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is when an individual has both a mental health and substance use disorder at the same time. Treating these disorders concurrently is imperative for overall healing. Finding dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on can help get you the support you need.1

The term “dual diagnosis” acknowledges the coexistence of these two conditions. The presence of both disorders can complicate the diagnosis and treatment process. This is because both disorders often interact and influence each other.

For example, substance use disorder (SUD) may worsen or create mental health symptoms, and mental health issues can increase the risk of substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Denver Programs Consist of?

Dual diagnosis requires treatment approaches that address both disorders. This may involve a combination of:
  • Therapy
  • Medication management
  • Support groups
  • Behavioral interventions
    Addiction treatment
  • programs
Treating both conditions with the dual diagnosis treatment Denver offers can provide the best outcome for long-term recovery and overall healing.

A Closer Look at Dual Diagnosis

The Relationship Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Challenges

The relationship between substance use disorders and mental health challenges is complex. When exploring the dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides, you may come across several factors in how these disorders coexist, including:


People with mental health challenges may turn to substances as a way to self-medicate and ease their symptoms.

Drugs or alcohol can provide temporary relief from distressing symptoms like anxiety. However, this self-medication strategy is not effective and can lead to a cycle of addiction.

Neurochemical Imbalances

Both substance misuse and mental health disorders can affect the brain’s chemistry. Substance use disorder can disrupt the natural balance of neurotransmitters. This imbalance can lead to changes in mood and behavior.

Also, mental health disorders are often associated with imbalances in neurotransmitters. This can contribute to symptoms such as depression or anxiety.

Genetic and Environmental Factors

There is evidence to suggest that genetic and environmental factors contribute to both mental health disorders and substance abuse.

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to develop both conditions, which is called “dual vulnerability.”

Environmental factors, such as trauma or a history of substance abuse in the family, can increase the risk of someone developing either a mental health or substance use disorder.

Co-Occurring Risk Factors

Substance abuse and mental health disorders share common risk factors, such as:
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of social support
  • Exposure to chronic stress
These factors can contribute to the development of both conditions and create a cycle of interdependence.

Understanding that Risk Factors Don’t Make Dual Diagnosis Inevitable

While SUD can exacerbate mental health symptoms and vice versa, not everyone with a mental health disorder will develop a substance use disorder.

However, the co-occurrence of these conditions is relatively common, and receiving the dual diagnosis treatment Denver offers is crucial for effective treatment.

The Most Common Dual Diagnosis Disorders

If you’re searching for dual diagnosis treatment Denver programs, it is important to understand what disorders interact with each other the most. 

The most common co-occurring disorders vary depending on the population and the context, but some combinations occur more often than others. Here are a few examples:

Depression and Substance Use Disorder

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, and it often co-occurs with substance use disorders. People experiencing depression may turn to substances to self-medicate. The use of drugs or alcohol may temporarily ease emotional pain and provide a sense of relief.

Many of the dual diagnosis treatment Denver programs provide assistance for both depression and substance use disorder.

Anxiety Disorders and Substance Use Disorder

Anxiety disorders often coexist with substance use disorders as well. Individuals with anxiety disorders may use substances to cope with:
  • Excessive worry
  • Fear
  • Physical symptoms
However, substance abuse often worsens anxiety symptoms and can contribute to a cycle of dependency. Finding the dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on for help with anxiety can help work through both types of symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves episodes of mania or hypomania (elevated mood) and depression. Substance use disorders often occur in individuals with bipolar disorder. This is because some individuals may use drugs or alcohol to manage the intense mood swings or to self-medicate during depressive episodes.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Substance Use Disorder

PTSD can develop following exposure to a traumatic event. It often co-occurs with substance abuse. Individuals with PTSD may turn to substances as a way to cope with:
  • The distressing symptoms
  • Numbing emotional pain
  • Attempting to self-soothe
Substance abuse can provide temporary relief, but it often worsens the symptoms of PTSD in the long run. Finding dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on for both PTSD and substance use disorder is imperative in recovery.

Schizophrenia and Substance Use Disorder

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by:
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Social withdrawal

Substance use disorders are more prevalent in individuals with schizophrenia compared to the general population. 

Substance misuse may be an attempt to reduce hallucinations. However, it can increase cognitive impairment and negatively impact treatment outcomes.

What Substances Are Most Often Misused?

The substances often misused with these mental health disorders include:2
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids
  • Stimulants
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription medication
  • Hallucinogens
It is important to identify and address both the mental health and substance use disorder while attending the dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides. Integrated treatment approaches have shown better outcomes for those with dual diagnosis.

How Common is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is very common. The prevalence rates vary depending on the specific disorders involved. However, research indicates a high prevalence of dual diagnosis. 

Here are some general statistics of how common dual diagnosis can be among varying populations:

General Population

Studies have estimated that around 30% to 50% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder and vice versa.3

Treatment-Seeking Population

Among individuals seeking treatment for either mental health or substance use, the rates of dual diagnosis are even higher. Estimates suggest that up to 50% to 75% of those seeking treatment have a co-occurring disorder.4

Specific Disorders

The rates of dual diagnosis vary depending on the specific mental health and substance use disorders. For example, certain mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, have a higher likelihood of co-occurring with substance use disorders compared to others.5

Homelessness and Incarceration

Dual diagnosis is particularly prevalent among vulnerable populations. This includes individuals experiencing homelessness or those involved in the criminal justice system. Rates of co-occurring disorders in these populations can be as high as 50% to 80%.6

Dual diagnosis often goes undiagnosed and untreated. There is also a high likelihood that those with dual diagnosis do not receive proper treatment. Research has revealed that around 50% of people with dual diagnosis receive neither the proper mental health care nor substance use treatment.5

This can complicate the accurate estimation of its prevalence. The dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides, like Mile High Recovery Center, can address both disorders for effective and long-term recovery.

The Key Components of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The key components that dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides involve an integrated and comprehensive approach. 

Programs like Mile High Recovery Center focus on addressing both mental health and substance use disorders together. Some important components of dual diagnosis treatment include:


To develop treatment that best fits you, a thorough assessment is conducted to check your:
  • Mental health
  • Substance misuse history
  • Medical condition
  • Social circumstances
  • Any other relevant factors
Finding dual diagnosis treatment Denver centers that provide a holistic assessment is imperative for healing.

Integrated Treatment

Dual diagnosis programs integrate mental health services and substance use disorder treatment. This may involve a combination of:
  • Therapy
  • Medication management
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Skill-building interventions
  • Education about both disorders

Personalized Treatment Plans

Treatment plans are tailored to meet your specific needs. The dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides focuses on the unique interaction between your mental health and substance use. The treatment plan may be adjusted and modified as progress is made or new challenges arise.

Initial Detox

The initial focus is often on stabilizing your condition. This may involve:
  • Managing withdrawal symptoms
  • Stabilizing psychiatric symptoms
  • Establishing a safe and supportive environment

Various Therapies

Therapy sessions can address both disorders. This approach helps you to:
  • Understand the relationship between your conditions
  • Develop healthier coping mechanisms
  • Gain insight into the interplay between your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and substance use

Aftercare Planning

Relapse prevention strategies are a key part of dual diagnosis treatment. During dual diagnosis treatment, you will:
  • Learn skills to identify risk factors
  • Manage cravings
  • Develop healthy coping strategies
  • Build a support network to maintain your recovery

Common Therapy Interventions Used in Dual Diagnosis Treatment Denver Centers

The dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides often uses a variety of treatment modalities to address both the mental health and substance use disorder. 

Your own treatment may include various combinations of treatments depending on your needs and symptoms.

Some common treatment interventions used in dual diagnosis programs include:

Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT)

IDDT combines mental health and substance use treatment into a unified and integrated program. It involves a team of professionals who collaborate to provide comprehensive care, including:7
  • Therapy
  • Medication management
  • Case management
  • Support services
The specifics for this treatment plan can vary from center to center, but often involves an integration of at least some of the services to make sure individuals get the care and support they need.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. It is effective for both mental health and substance use disorders. CBT aims to:
  • Enhance coping skills
  • Address distorted thinking
  • Develop healthier ways of managing emotions and cravings
CBT is currently one of the most commonly used therapies, and many dual diagnosis treatment Denver centers incorporate it into their care plans as well.

What is CBT?

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is an approach that focuses on enhancing motivation and resolving ambivalence about change. It helps individuals explore and strengthen their internal motivation to address both their mental health and substance use issues. 

Motivational interviewing techniques aim to increase readiness for change and commitment to treatment. This can make a great deal of difference for those searching for dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a therapy approach originally developed from CBT specifically for borderline personality disorder. However, it has also shown efficacy in treating substance use disorders and co-occurring conditions. 

DBT combines elements of CBT with:

  • Skills training in emotional regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Mindfulness

What is DBT?

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals can share their experience and learn from others facing similar challenges. 

Group therapy promotes:

  • Social support
  • Empathy
  • Accountability
It can also help individuals develop new coping strategies and build healthy relationships. Group therapy often gives individuals support from other people going through the same struggles.

Medication Management

Medication may often be prescribed to address symptoms of mental health disorders. Medications can also help support recovery from substance use disorders. Psychiatric medications can help:
  • Stabilize mood
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Manage psychotic symptoms
  • Ease other mental health symptoms
Medications for substance use disorders, such as opioid agonists, may also be used to reduce the severity of some symptoms during detox.


Education about mental health, substance use, the interplay between the two, and the effects of substances on mental health is an essential component of dual diagnosis treatment. 

Psychoeducation helps individuals:

  • Develop insight into their conditions
  • Understand risk factors and relapse risks
  • Get the knowledge and skills necessary for managing their recovery

Psychoeducation groups have been growing in popularity in recent years.

Peer Support

Peer support programs, such as 12-Step programs (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous), can be valuable in the dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides. These programs offer a supportive community of individuals who have experienced similar challenges. 

This support group can provide:

  • Guidance
  • Encouragement
  • Practical strategies for maintaining sobriety and managing mental health.
The dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides often uses various techniques to address individual needs. Different modalities are often combined or adapted based on the unique needs and preferences of each person in dual diagnosis recovery.

5 Tips for Maintaining Wellness After Treatment

Maintaining wellness after the dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides can be a struggle for many people. 

However, here are five tips for maintaining wellness post-treatment to ensure you stay as healthy as possible:

Build and Maintain a Supportive Network

Surround yourself with a supportive network of people who understand your journey. These people can help provide you with encouragement and accountability. Stay connected to individuals who uplift and support your goals of maintaining wellness.

Some of the support networks you find may even be people from dual diagnosis treatment Denver programs.

Practice Self-Care

Focus on self-care activities. These activities should promote your physical and mental well-being. This can include:
  • Regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Engaging in hobbies
  • Practicing relaxation techniques (such as meditation or deep breathing)
  • Pursuing activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Develop Healthy Coping Strategies

Identify healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, risks, and cravings. This can involve:
  • Implementing relaxation techniques
  • Engaging in creative outlets
  • Journaling
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Seeking support from your network
  • Utilizing the skills you learned during treatment

Stay Engaged in Aftercare

Continuation of aftercare is vital after the dual diagnosis treatment Denver provides. Attend support group meetings, therapy sessions, or other forms of ongoing treatment as recommended. Aftercare provides:
  • Ongoing support
  • Guidance
  • Reinforcement of the skills learned during treatment
All these can help you navigate potential challenges and maintain your recovery.

Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Milestones

Set achievable goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Consider breaking larger goals into smaller and more manageable steps. Then acknowledge and reward yourself for each milestone reached. 

This will help you maintain motivation and a sense of progress, reinforcing your commitment to wellness.

Maintaining wellness is an ongoing process. It’s important to be patient, kind, and compassionate with yourself as you navigate life after dual diagnosis treatment. If you encounter setbacks or challenges, reach out for support and use the strategies and resources available to you.

How Can Mile High Recovery Center Help Support Recovery of Dual Diagnosis Symptoms

If you’re continuing to search for dual diagnosis treatment Denver residents can rely on, let Mile High Recovery Center help. 

At Mile High Recovery Center, we are dedicated to providing you the comprehensive treatment and support to manage dual diagnosis symptoms. 

Our integrated treatment approach combines mental health services and substance abuse treatment to address the complex interactions between both disorders.

How We Can Help

Through the use of a variety of techniques, Mile High Recovery Center offers tailored support to meet your unique needs. Our treatment programs offer:

Get In Touch With Us Today

With a focus on ongoing aftercare and support, Mile High Recovery Center aims to empower you to manage your dual diagnosis symptoms and sustain long-term recovery. For information about how you can receive dual diagnosis treatment in Denver, contact us today

We are community-based treatment that you can rely on to help you every step of the way.

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Reach Out Today to See How Mile High Recovery Center Can Help You Heal

If you or a loved one are ready to regain autonomy over your lives and well-being, recovery starts here. Let us guide you toward sustainable wellness and sobriety through our personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and experiences. We look forward to hearing from you!